I cannot but help to notice an ironically similar tone to this “debate” to one in which I deal with everyday; organic vs. “conventional” farming. I’m a County Agent and work with both groups and am often caught in the middle with discussions much like this one. This one is also unfortunately coupled with the obviously angry overtones which can be all too familiar.

It also shares familiarity with respect to the scientific, economic and perhaps social perspectives. Organic producers, once converted, often cite great satisfaction in their respective practices, which sounds very similar to Dennis’ comments – it just seems simpler and more enjoyable! In many respects Dennis is pointing out how TBH’s appear to be more consistent with nature along with a tendency to favor the economics of the producer, especially a smaller producer. A striking similarity to organic food production.

Jim on the other hand makes comments that tend to be very similar to those made by the detractors of producing organic food (chemical, pharmaceutical, genetically modified seed companies (ironically, which all seem to be one in the same, these days). Basically, all of these companies (I don’t know if this is true with Jim or not), depend heavily upon “commercial” producers for their source of income -- they "farm" the farmers. In the farming world, it’s too the point in which the suppliers seem to be the only ones that seems to make a decent living from the deal, while the farmer gets only what’s offered (at least from the farmers perspective). Perhaps Jim’s vocation is threatened (at least philosophically) by TBH’s, much the way Monsanto is by organic farmers? If so, that’s a different, and not necessarily, a trivial issue.

I’ve also learned, after working for many years at a major University, that research is often skewed in favor of those paying for it – not always – but I’ve seen it first hand too many times. I have become very suspect of some research. It’s become a sad state to say the least.

I've also become very suspect of organizations helping in foreign countries. Many of the NGO's are doing great things for the right reasons, but many are there for economic reasons under the guise of "helping" -- in truth, they see "new" markets.

I am just learning about TBH’s so I am not an expert (I have kept “conventional” hives till now), but what does intrigue me is how TBH’s appear to work with nature, something that seems absent in conventional agriculture and perhaps to some degree, in commercial beekeeping -- not to mention the sheer simplicity and economic advantages.

Finally, from an educational standpoint, I think TBH’s may be a wonderful tool for the backyard gardener wishing to maintain their own beehive, but are daunted by the expense, physical labor and complexity of the conventional system. For them, a TBH is a much better system and a more sustainable fit.

Jimmy